Monday, January 16, 2012

Singing To My Sons

This morning as we were listening to Roger Whittaker singing "Both Sides Now," Peter W. said it reminded him of me singing to our boys at bed time. I said I never sang that song to them, but I guess the kind of song it was made him think that. I thought I had written about singing to my boys on the blog already, but I couldn't find a post about it.

I don't know if my sons remembered all the songs I sang to them once they were grown, but it was a special bed time ritual for many years. I started it when Peter A. was little and continued it for many years, long after Leif was born. I remember how, when I had two of them to sing to, I used to sit on the floor between their two bedroom doors, facing them, and sing in the dark hallway.

I think I particularly remember that place and time because of sitting on that floor. The boys were eight and two years old then.

I started singing when I was in college, accompanying myself on an acoustic guitar. For a short time I sang with a quartet. After college, for many, many years the only singing I did was at home with my guitar or singing to the boys at night. I have no photos of me singing with my guitar or singing to them. I wish I did. 

I sang mostly folk songs, oldies, and a few Broadway numbers. One of the songs the boys loved was "When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob Bobbin' Along," an old song I learned in college. Since I have no photos of me singing to them, I found this video of the melody. There are a lot of videos online with a wide variety of singers, famous and amateur, singing this song but their renditions were so different from mine that I am posting a piano version.

I also loved to sing "Try To Remember" from The Fantasticks, "Inchworm" (originally from the film Hans Christian Anderson), children's favorites like "The Ants Go Marching" and "Found a Peanut," and many folk songs.

Both boys had good voices. Peter A. began singing with the Kinderchor (childen's choir) in Sachsen bei Ansbach when he was in fourth grade and sang all the way through school and the Air Force Academy in choruses and musicals. 

Leif had a wonderful voice, but he never sang until he tried out for high school musicals and won the coveted part of Kenicke in "Grease," when his rendition of "Greased Lightning" made the girls scream like he was a rock star. I've written about that on this blog before.

When my grandchildren were tiny, I thought of recording a CD of the songs I sang to my sons for the grandkids, but I never did it. 

Singing to my sons is a special, warm memory. Bed time was good, with cuddles, stories, and songs, our time.

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